Guavas are a tropical superfruit originating in Central America.
They are oval in shape with light green or yellow skin and contain edible seeds.
They are amazingly rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. This remarkable nutrient content gives them many health benefits.
This article lists all the health benefits of guavas that are backed by scientific research.
There is some evidence that guava can improve blood sugar control.
Several test-tube and animal studies found guava extract reduced blood sugar levels, improved long-term blood sugar control and reduced insulin resistance (, , , , ).
This is good news for people with diabetes or those at risk.
A few studies involving humans have also shown impressive results.
One study of 19 people found that drinking guava leaf tea lowered blood sugar levels after a meal. The effects lasted for up to two hours ().
Another study involving 20 people with type 2 diabetes found that drinking guava leaf tea reduced blood sugar levels after a meal by more than 10% ().
Bottom Line: Guava extract may help improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes or those at risk.
Guavas may help boost heart health in a number of different ways.
Many scientists believe that the high levels of antioxidants and vitamins in guava may help protect the heart against damage from free radicals ().
The higher levels of potassium and soluble fiber in guavas are also thought to contribute to improved heart health.
Eating guavas has also been linked to lower blood pressure, a decrease in "bad" LDL cholesterol and a rise in "good" HDL cholesterol ().
Since high blood pressure and high levels of LDL cholesterol are linked to higher risks of heart disease and stroke, adding moderate amounts of guava to your diet could lead to valuable benefits.
A 12-week study of 120 people found that eating ripe guava before meals caused an overall decrease in blood pressure by 8–9 points, a reduction in total cholesterol by 9.9% and an increase in "good" HDL cholesterol by 8% ().
This same effect has been seen in several other studies (, ).
Bottom Line: Moderate consumption of guavas can have a positive effect on heart health by lowering blood pressure, decreasing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.
Many women experience dysmenorrhea — painful symptoms of menstruation such as stomach cramps.
However, there is some evidence that guava extract can actually reduce the pain intensity of menstrual cramps.
A study involving 197 women who experienced painful symptoms found that taking 6 mg of guava leaf extract daily resulted in reduced pain intensity. It appeared to be even more powerful than some painkillers ().
Guava leaf extract is thought to have a "spasmolytic" effect on the uterus, meaning it can relieve spasms of smooth muscle, also known as cramps ().
Bottom Line: Taking at least 6 mg of guava leaf extract daily may help decrease symptoms of painful menstruation.
Guavas are an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Therefore, eating more guavas may help aid in healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation.
Just one guava can provide 12% of your recommended daily intake of fiber ().
As well as preventing or relieving constipation, guavas may reduce the intensity and duration of diarrhea (, , ).
Several studies have also shown that guava leaf extract is antimicrobial. This means it can disable harmful microbes in the gut that can cause diarrhea (, ).
Bottom Line: Consuming guavas or guava extract may prevent or reduce the symptoms of diarrhea and constipation.
Guavas are a weight loss friendly food.
With only 37 calories in one fruit and 12% of your recommended daily fiber intake, they are a filling, low-calorie snack ().
Unlike some other low-calorie snacks, they are packed full of vitamins and minerals — so you aren't losing out on important nutrients.
They taste great too. When guavas are ripe, they're naturally sweet.
Bottom Line: Guavas are full of fiber and low in calories, making them a weight loss friendly snack.
Guava extract has been shown to have an anti-cancer effect. Test-tube and animal studies show that guava extract can prevent and even stop the growth of cancer cells (, ).
This is likely due to the high levels of powerful antioxidants that prevent free radicals from damaging cells, one of the main causes of cancer ().
One test-tube study found that guava leaf oil was four times more effective at stopping cancer cell growth than certain cancer drugs ().
The effect of guava extract on cancer cells in living humans still needs to be explored.
Bottom Line: The high levels of antioxidants in guava can help prevent the development and growth of cancer cells.
Having low levels of vitamin C in your body is linked to an increased risk of infections and illness.
Guavas are a fantastic way to get this nutrient, as they're one of the richest food sources of vitamin C.
In fact, one guava provides about double the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C. This is almost twice the amount you would get from eating an orange ().
Vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system ().
Although it's not proven to prevent the common cold, vitamin C has been shown to reduce its duration ().
It has also been shown to be antimicrobial. This means it helps kill off bad bacteria and viruses that can lead to infections ().
Because vitamin C can easily be flushed out of the body, it's important to regularly get enough through the diet.
Bottom Line: Guavas are one of the richest food sources of vitamin C. Maintaining adequate levels of this vitamin is important for protecting against illness and infections.
The wide range of vitamins and antioxidants packed into a guava may do wonders for your skin. Their high levels of antioxidants may help protect the skin from damage. This can slow down its aging process, helping prevent wrinkles ().
What's more, guava extract may even help treat acne.
One test-tube study found that guava leaf extract was effective at killing acne-causing bacteria in the skin. This is likely due to the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of guava extract ().
More studies are needed to confirm the role of guavas and guava extract in maintaining healthy skin.
Bottom Line: The antioxidants and vitamins in guavas can help slow down the aging of skin, while guava extract may help treat acne.
Guavas are incredibly delicious and packed with nutrients.
They are low in calories, loaded with fiber and make an excellent addition to a healthy diet.